The benefits of adding some cardio to your Pilates
Pilates is traditionally done in a slow and controlled way focusing on your breathing and technique, so how does ‘Cardio-Pilates’ work and is it better for me?
Cardio-Pilates is a blended way to work out with higher intensity exercises throughout your Pilates class. You will still focus on your form, breathing and technique through the lower intensity sections and then move at a faster pace in the cardio bursts.
There are many benefits of cardiovascular exercise for both your physical and mental wellbeing. Aside from keeping your heart and lungs healthy, it also helps with sleep quality, immunity, brain power and mood. When you combine this with the benefits of traditional Pilates - movement control, flexibility, core stability, muscle strength, balance, mindfulness, body awareness and posture - it becomes a pretty complete workout.
Who is cardio Pilates good for?
Cardio Pilates is great for anyone who is looking for a higher intensity workout where they get their heart rate up, but still want to enjoy the repertoire and mindful side of Pilates. For some, getting outside and going for a jog or brisk walk just isn’t possible or enjoyable (too dark, too cold, newborn at home). This is where a cardio-pilates class can save the day with all the benefits of cardiovascular exercise, without needing to leave the house. I know a lot of people shudder at the thought of going for a run, so this is a great alternative to get your heart rate up, get a little sweaty and release some endorphins.
It’s also so beneficial to challenge yourself in new ways. If you’ve been doing Pilates for a while, this might be the perfect way to mix things up and work your body in a different way.
How do the classes work?
By moving more quickly through the repertoire and adding faster-paced, higher intensity exercises, you will elevate your heart rate and feel quite puffed during these classes. Although Pilates is traditionally taught with control, by speeding up the movements you can take your workout to another level. You will still be guided through your exercises with cues and instructions and then take it up a notch with bursts of intensity.
You will always start with a moment of mindfulness and a warm up and the class will conclude with stretches and breathing. Some classes will feature our resistance bands, others will be equipment free. Expect the usual Our Pilates vibe with the heat turned up.
How often should I be doing these classes?
This depends on how much you enjoy the higher intensity classes and what other exercise you are doing each week. Ideally, you will do at least 30 minutes of exercise per day, most days of the week. So if Pilates is your only form of exercise, aim for 2 cardio classes and 3 regular classes per week. If you are also doing other forms of exercise (walking, jogging, cycling, reformer classes, gym), then you could just add 1 cardio class to your week.
The most important factor with exercise is that you enjoy it and do it consistently, so keep this in mind and make sure you are looking forward to your workout rather than dreading it.
Is there anyone who shouldn’t be doing cardio-Pilates?
Being a higher intensity workout, with less focus on form, these classes are best suited to people who are familiar and confident with Pilates. There are always options to move at your own pace and to take a lower impact version, so anyone can have a go and make the class as challenging as they like on the day.
During pregnancy and in the first 3 months postpartum, you will need medical clearance to do any of these classes due to the impact exercises and the load this places on the pelvic floor. Anyone with an injury should also first be cleared by their treating doctor or physio to ensure that these classes are safe.
You can find our cardio-Pilates classes in the Sweat category on our website and app. If you’re not sure whether this is for you, why not give it a go and you might have fun. Make sure you let us know what you think after you try a class! DM @ourpilates or email firstname.lastname@example.org with any feedback or questions.